Every week, Playboy, with journalist Lilly Dancyger and Creatives for Progressive Action—a national community of artists, filmmakers, writers and activists using their influence and voices to pursue meaningful and measurable progressive action—will deliver a timely overview of global and domestic political events, controversial policy changes, elections, campaigns and government happenings that deserve our attention and citizen action. From bite-size activism to in-person engagement, our goal is activate the marginalized, make our voices heard and ultimately win the fight for social justice for all. From protecting free speech and freedom of identity to safeguarding freedom of (and from) religion and a free press, both here at home and around the world, we will promote the ideas and values that support equal representation for all under the law. Now get out there and make a difference.
THIS WEEK: Support Special Elections From Miles Away
While it’s tempting to spend all day visualizing President Donald Trump’s impeachment, there are more effective ways to channel your distress and desire for a change of leadership in this country. Instead of bemoaning the current administration and thinking about all the things that could have been, it’s time to turn our focus forward and work toward successes in the upcoming midterms and several special elections.
Trump would be a lot less dangerous if his party didn’t control the House and the Senate. Of course, the 2018 midterm elections are going to be crucial, and many on the left are expecting a “blue wave” of Democrat victories. But we also expected Hillary Clinton to win, so the last thing we should do right now is sit back and wait for a Trump backlash to hand us both the House and the Senate. If we want them, we have to take them.
THESE ORGANIZATIONS HELP YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN KEY ELECTIONS, NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE
If you’re looking toward the 2018 midterms, you’ve probably heard of Swing Left by now. The organization sprung in the wake of the presidential election and has garnered tons of attention in the last few months. Swing Left cuts through the white noise and lays out which swing districts will be the crucial in 2018, providing information on how you can get involved in progressive campaigns across the country.
Swing Left will provide information about districts that are potentially winnable by Democrats in 2018 and offer suggestions for how you can help. Many blue districts are just a short drive from red districts, where some visiting canvassers may make a huge difference. Consider spending a day knocking on doors to get out the vote in a district that could decide the House and Senate majorities in 2018.
Similar to Swing Left, Flippable, founded by three former Clinton staffers, uses data to zero in on which state races are the most “flippable,“ aka have the most potential to turn blue, and helps direct funding to the Democratic candidates in those races. Check out the site here to contribute to one of their hand-picked candidates.
PAY ATTENTION TO SPECIAL ELECTIONS
If there’s any silver lining to Trump’s cabinet picks it’s that they’ve left several empty seats in state legislatures that could potentially be won by Democrats in a series of special elections. Here are the ones to watch:
Democrat Jon Ossoff: Ossoff has a slight lead in the polls ahead of the highly anticipated June 20th run-off, when he’ll compete with the state’s former Secretary of State, Republican Karen Handel for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, left vacant by current Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. 538.com dubbed the race “too close to call,” but it’s one we could win with a little extra push in this last crucial week. Swing Left is partnering with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), MoveOn.org, Flippable, Wall of Us and Daily Kos to organize Special Election House Parties, where friends get together and call Democratic voters in Georgia to make sure they show up to vote. Sign up here to host or attend a party, or donate to Ossoff’s campaign here.
Democrat Archie Parnell: Also on June 20, Parnell and Republican Ralph Norman will face off to take budget director Mick Mulvaney’s seat in South Carolina’s 5th District. Sign up to make calls from the comfort of your own home or contribute to the campaign here.
In Utah and Alabama: Primaries will be held August 15 for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Alabama Senate seat and Representative Jason Chaffetz’s replacement in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District. Keep an eye on those and get ready for elections for those seats, which will be held on December 12 and November 17, respectively.
SHOW UP AT THE POLLS
The simplest and most urgent task for those on the left hoping to win back power in 2018 is, of course, to vote. Hopefully we learned our lesson in the presidential election that refusing to vote as a way of making a statement against the system is a stupid game, like playing catch with a live bomb. Protest voters in November sure showed Hillary—and they showed refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ people and Medicaid too. No amount of petition-signing, marching and calling representatives will mean anything if you don’t back up those actions by showing up to the polls in 2018. The only way to drive home the point that you don’t approve of what’s happened so far in this administration is to unseat the agents at play.
Have an issue you’re particularly passionate about? Maybe it’s anti-racism, or LGBT rights, or the environment, or women’s issues? Email Kristen Murtha, firstname.lastname@example.org, to get involved in this organization and to have it featured in this series.